For a few weeks now, our milk has mysteriously been going off before the use by date has arrived. Raspberries have been turning mouldy, yoghurt has starting blinking and Babybel cheeses have . . . well, stayed exactly the same because you could put them in a nostalgic time capsule, bury them in tarmac and dig them up to show on Blue peter in twenty years and they wouldn't have changed at all.
But lots of our fresh stuff has been displaying a remarkable grasp of comestible entropy, and I don't like it.
It's like living in the middle ages.
I wonder if they had use by dates in the middle ages?
Turnip. Display until sold. Use prior to decomposition.
Anyway, in this modern, technological world we've been living in since the Year 2000 heralded the arrival of the future, I presumed that the fridge I entrusted my perishables to would've have been able to fulfill it's primary purpose and stopped stuff, you know, rotting and that. Apparently not.
Still, it's a few years old now and, because nothing is built to last anymore, one must expect it to go wrong at some point.
First things first, I ate a space through to the back of the fridge so I could get a good look inside:
After rapidly considering the merits of a ham and cheese toastie, making it, eating it and then hiding my plate, I had a good look round for anything like a badly set temperature control in there that might explain the unseasonably warm innards?
There it is:
A dial labelled 'temperature' and set to 'low'.
Damn. If it's as low as it can go, then it must be broken, and you can bet your bottom salad shelf that it won't be an easy DIY repair, but some tiny, complex mechanism that can only be obtained from the Bupyeong province of Korea, where it is carved from the sternums of Asiatic black bears by artisan monks and costing the best part of fifty quid.
Sighing, I informed Mrs The Jules that, sadly, the refrigerator had packed up and we would need to spend cash that we didn't have on a new one, unless that one we saw dumped in the local Site of Special Scientific Interest was still there in which case I could just empty the badgers out of it, load it on the trailer and bring it home.
"What do the instructions say?" she asked, completely unreasonably.
I shook my head at her and her little ways, smiled gently and informed her that they would presumably tell me to get a qualified electrician in to fit a plug, to put food in it that you want to keep cold and to refrain from shutting children in it, even annoying ones.
"Presumably?" she asked, equally unreasonably.
"Well, I'm not actually going to waste time reading instructions when it's patently obvious that it's not working, that the temperature is set to as low as it can go on the dial and it's still quite balmy inside, am I? What's the point?"
I am suddenly aware that I am talking to nobody, as Mrs The Jules trots off and returns half a minute later with the fridge instruction booklet which I haven't seen for four years since we bought it, and pointlessly begins leafing through it.
I start wondering if I can afford a Smeg fridge, because who wouldn't want smeg in their kitchen. Unfortunately, we would need to take out another mortgage to afford one, and it would be ironic if we did get one and subsequently starved because we couldn't then afford to buy any food to put in it.
A few minutes later, the wife tapped the bottom of one of the pages, reminding me that the dials in the fridge would've been designed by engineers, and so one shouldn't take what's written on them too literally:
Apparently, Temperature Low is the warmest setting.
To make it cold, one must turn the temperature gauge to High.
I gnashed my teeth, shrugged my shoulders and held out my hands with thumbs facing outwards in the universally recognised posture of resigned exasperation, letting the universe at large know about the failings of people other than myself.
"Its a bloody good job they don't make altimeters!" I called to Mrs The Jules as she replaced the instructions back in whatever mysterious realm they came from.
A drawer probably.
Then I went and turned the fridge temperature down. Or up. No, down.
Definitely possibly down.